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March 13, 2009
Google is spotting a weakness in the marketing and attacking it. "Skype still doesn't record! and conference calling is not reliable because Skype wants to use so much bandwidth.... Elluminate works on low bandwidth, but has never been very easy to use.... Flash Meeting, Dim Dim, Adobe Connect all use the Flash player to web conference, and while that makes it potentially user friendly, it also makes it bandwidth hungry." Well, let's see if they can solve this problem - it would make the web a lot more interesting. See the demo movies.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Audio Chat and Conferencing, Marketing, Google, Bandwidth]
March 6, 2009
This post refers to videos of 'scary school nigtmares'. "Every night Pinky tries to get some sleep, only to be kept awake by a bizarre school building slideshow. Words by Ivan Illich, author of Deschooling Society." More information on the Pinky Show website. Leigh Blackall celebrates the videos: "Aafter 5 years of edublogging, I have seen no more than 5 people reference Illich's Deschooling Society and discuss its DIRECT references to networked learning, and only 2 references to his wider work on institutionalisation and humanity generally."
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Schools, Video, Networks, Online Learning]
December 29, 2008
Though the contributors to Wikipedia are distributed, the site and management are centralized, which leads to increased costs. Agreed, six million dollars isn't 'large' in the greater scheme of things - but it's a lot of money to raise annually when you have no revenue stream. Donors of this amount of money usually expect some sort of say over how the money is spent. Expect this to become an increasing tension going forward.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Wikipedia]
December 3, 2008
Leigh Blackall ventures into the south Pacific to conduct a workshop using the OLPC XO laptop computers and encounters difficulties. As one commentator summarizes, "The author points out serious flaws with the Sugar interface and the OLPC software that have not been fixed, even in the latest builds, though they have been known for years: The interface is too slow; The Journal metaphor is confusing and only partially implemented; Networking and collaboration are flaky; The touchpad is flaky; Standard Linux applications (like Firefox) do not run, despite the Linux core of the operating system."
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Portable Computers, Operating Systems]
October 7, 2008
Leigh Blackall channels Chet Bowers. "Chet Bowers wrote his first book on the connections between education, cultural ways of knowing, and the ecological crisis in 1974. The title of the book was Cultural Literacy for Freedom. Since then he has written over 95 articles and 19 books that examine how language reproduces ways of thinking that were formed before there was an awareness of ecological limits, the connections between emancipatory/transformative ways of thinking and the globalization of the West's industrial culture."
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Books]
June 25, 2008
"If you can accept my argument that social constructivism can not be used in behaviorist methodologies, then with it I would argue that social media cannot be used inside behaviorist media - such as the prescribed media presently used (LMS, system email, content repositories etc)." That's from Leigh Blackall's notes on a presentation he gave to NZ educators at the Desire2Learn roundtable. The theme of this post is whether social media should be integrated into enterprise learning systems or vice versa. Since formal education is such a small part of our learning, it would make more sense to make the LMS/LCMS subservient to the social media surround. Janet Clarey adds her thoughts to Leigh's post. -HJ
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Constructivism, Content Management Systems, Learning Object Repositories, Online Learning]
December 27, 2007
I get what Leigh Blackall is saying in this post, but even with full connectivity content would not be 'king' - at least, not the sort of content that is ordinarily supposed hen we talk of things like learning objects (or newspaper articles). The point is, more learning happens through conversation and content creation than by mere passive receptivity. And what Illich (and Friere, and others, know) is that when you take control of the production of your own learning, you give yourself the power to learn, which is something no content provider can even give to you. Broadband connectivity helps, to be sure - but the important part of the broadband connection is the ploading part. After all, we've had broadband downloading for a very long time. It was called television.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Video, Learning Objects, Online Learning]
November 23, 2007
July 11, 2007
Leigh Blackall was offered money to link to this essay service, Custom Writing, from his blog. The service offers essays for sale to students - "the papers we provide are plagiarism free – neither TurnItIn, nor any other plagiarism detecting software cannot find any plagiarism. Papers are 100% custom written." He linked all right - for free - and as a bonus tossed in an interview with the service's representative, Andrew Schwatz. The result is a fascinating discourse on the mechanics of testing. The position taken by the company is that essay writing is not an accurate assessement of student performance, that they are essentially a waste of students' time, and so the service helps them get past an unreasonable and unfair hurdle. "When it comes to applying for a job – experience and testing conducted by a hiring company – is what does count, not educational credentials. From this perspective, companies like ours only help – we spare the time for students to develop in the field they chose to, which will then be their career path."
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Cheating, Web Logs, Experience, Tests and Testing]
May 4, 2007
I don't agree with this post. I use 'share-alike' on my licenses (both Creative Commons and Open Source Software (where it's GPL) precisely because I don't want somebody coming along, doing a minor repurpose, and then claiming to 'own' the content. Leigh Blackall argues against 'share alike', though, because he can't use SA content in conjunction with proprietary materials, cultually restructed materials, or old commercial materials. Right. because such a combining would be a process of taking something that is freely sharable, and turning it into something that is not. It's just a clever way of raiding the commons for personal gain. But that said - there is nothing that presents the presentation of SA materials alongside commercial materials. You an still use the materials - you just can't pretend they are something you have created (and can restrict access to). I see nothing illogical about this.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: none]
March 15, 2007
Leigh Blackall figures it out. Everybody focuses on wikis. Collaborative creation and all that. But "the problem with wikis is that they require people to remember to contribute, stop what they're doing, go to the wiki, click edit and retype what they wrote somewhere else already, such as in a blog, email, or other media upload somewhere else." OK, good. Then how would you fix this? He goes through a little thinking, and then: "one-way aggregation is only half useful. Being able to quickly and easily compile an information piece on a wiki page from a variety of already existing information and media is great, being able to then quickly edit and add your own information around that media is even better, but to be able to dynamically export that page in true Web2 fashion would be the bomb!" Yes. Exactly. Bring in content from multiple sources. Mash it up, whatever. But instead of requiring that everybody go to your place (which is where these initiatives always go) ship it out in whatever form will be useful to a person and where that person needs it. And then you have (ta da!) a learning network.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Web Logs, Networks]
February 16, 2007
Leigh Blackall is forced by site outage to shift his attention from Wikiversity - a Wikipedia style online learning platform - to Wikieducator, a similar project set up in December, 2006, by the Commonwealth of Learning. "Wikieducator has made fantastic progress since last I looked," he writes. "Apart for a range of great tutorials, the key players in wikieducator have been more innovative and experimental in my view. They now have a web based IRC chat facility on the main nav - which is getting closer to Teemu's vision of a VOIP supported community learning network; they support media embedding, they use funky templates to play around with navigation and content layout, and they already have some significant contributions." Well good, but I wonder about his call for the two to join forces. Sure, they my be doing the same thing, but the management styles, I suspect, are miles apart.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Navigation, Project Based Learning, Usability, Wikiversity, Networks, Chatrooms, Wikipedia, Online Learning]
January 24, 2007
Leigh Blackall offers some old terms that may be viewed less suspiciously than the new terms. Like saying "social constructivism" instead of "Web2.0 and Socially networked software." Nice. Except that, to me at least, the two things are very different. And except that, if somebody is only willing to listen for four seconds, then I'm not going to have much to say to them. But then again, since I don't view reality as socially defined, I don't feel as much pressure to 'sell' or 'convince' people of something. And as in the next item, I don't view "pragmatism" as a good reason for doing something that's incorrect.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Constructivism, Networks]